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Friday 16 February 2024

Will Thorium be the magic bullet?

In my post of almost a decade ago, "What the heck is Thorium? I covered the key reasons Thorium is a potential magic bullet to enable low-cost, safe abundant clean energy to power the world.

The summary from that post was as follows;-

Summary from "What the heck is Thorium"
Nuclear power can generate base-load power without CO2 emissions at low cost.

However Nuclear power suffers from; -
    • safety risks
    • proliferation of materials which can be used in WMDs
    • generation of high volumes of long lived highly radioactive waste
    • supply is limited   
Thorium nuclear power can also generate base-load power without CO2 emissions at even lower cost than Uranium based nuclear power.

Moreover the Thorium LFTR design addresses all the downsides of Uranium reactors.
Thorium LFTR ;-
  • is relatively safe
  • generates much lower volumes of waste, with lower radiation and shorter life
  • safe from proliferation as waste is limited and NO Plutonium is produced
  • the supply is abundant and projected to last >1000 years.
For all these reasons Thorium seems to measure up to the hype. It holds the promise of clean low cost energy for an energy hungry world."

In a range of subsequent posts I covered various aspects of the development of Thorium rectors. See Thorium nuclear updateThorium nuclear experiments in Europe, and Safe nuclear passes first hurdle! 

So what is new? A new nuclear reactor design that can use Thorium fuel as well as existing nuclear waste. The new reactor design called the Dual Fluid reactor was invented by six collaborators working in the Institute for Solid-State Nuclear Physics in Berlin. In February 2021, the six inventors, along with the existing team, formed Canadian company Dual Fluid Energy Inc. which is to commercialize the design. The reactor has not been built yet, so much can go wrong. After all the Thorium magic bullet has been imminent for decades. 

Here is an infomercial on the technology; -

Given the recent energy stresses in much of the world, the rush to renewables is being downgraded in favour of baseload technologies, coal, gas and most importantly nuclear. Nuclear holds the most promise as it is the only scalable low emission energy technology. So it is not surprising that Thorium and the new Dual Fluid Reactor will generate great interest.

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